Thursday, April 4, 2013

Caps Make a Playoff Push!

With a compressed season, the Capitals were given two choices: cast away rentals or make a playoff push.  Having gone 9-6-1 in March and opening April with a 5-3 win over division rival Carolina to split a tie, and riding Ovechkin's 9 game point streak (10 goals, 5 assists), the Caps decided to bring in some help.

The biggest hole on the team, as usual, is a top line winger.  Enter Marty Erat, a decent two-way player who consistently ranked among Nashville's leaders in ice time among forwards.  He is a good skater and a great playmaker, who if given the chance, could complement Ovechkin and Backstrom well.  His versatility is useful to as he has played both wing positions in the NHL.

Unfortunately, he is not the answer physically.  The team could use more grit, especially for a playoff run in the Eastern Conference this year, and Erat is not well known for his toughness in the corners.

Overall, he should be a solid asset to a team that could use more goals.

Also acquired in the deal was Michael Latta, a guy that McPhee likens to "a modern day Dale Hunter" (sorry, no citations; I saw it on Twitter).  The team has badly needed grit and went about that in a big way (reacquiring Recker, and bringing in Dane Byers as well).  Latta is a tough center who's good enough to play in the NHL and big enough to make a difference.

We are hoping the minor league additions will help the Bears make a solid playoff run, and with Latta and Wilson competing for roster spots, training camp should be exciting too.

Losing Forsberg is tough, but the assets the Caps acquired are good enough to call this a win-win; for now.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Eric Fehr is back

For some reason, the Capitals brought back underwhelming Eric Fehr, signing him to a one-year deal worth $600k.  Never impressive, Fehr shocked Capitals [fan] everywhere with his whopping two goals and one assist in 35 games for the Jets last season. 

Just what the team needs; a reminder of hopes and dreams never achieved, a visor-wearing "power forward" with no power, or much to offer other than another body - and a well-worn down one at that.  Fehr will provide neither toughness, nor offense, and he is not a particularly good defensive forward either.  With Carolina trading for Westgarth, and Florida signing Parros in the summer, the Southeast bulked up for the first time in years, and the Capitals response is a stern commitment to another year of being pushed around, losing corner battles, and aiming high for a first round playoff exit.

The correct answer, of course, would be to acquire toughness in some way.  Letting Rechlicz walk was a mistake, of course, and there is obviously no reason to sign a one dimensional heavyweight enforcer only to misuse him as in years past.  However, with scrappy guys such as Tom Kostopoulos and Brad Winchester available as free agents, the Capitals could have at least attempted to make a feeble effort to address one of the team's biggest glaring weaknesses.

Looks like it will be another long year of being pushed around, if this is all we can muster.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Hockey's Back!

A day late and a dollar short, the NHL is back.

No word yet on scheduling, rule changes, realignment, or really anything, other than that the NHL will indeed play this year.

Looking at the Capitals roster, there is not much to be excited about.  Despite drafting Tom Wilson in the first round, the Capitals have yet again failed to address the size and toughness issue that has plagued the team for years.  Preventable injuries will probably happen again, and many battles along the boards will be lost.

Here's to hoping that the Boys in Red shape up to fit the mould used by both of the past two Stanley Cup winners.